One phone call changed his plans. One shot changed a whole lot more for Derek Ernst.
Six days after Ernst received a call that he was in the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C., as the fourth alternate, the 22-year-old rookie found himself one shot out of the lead and 192 yards away from the flag on the 18th hole, the toughest at Quail Hollow in the cold, wind, and rain of a grueling final round.
Ernst choked up on a 6-iron and hit a draw that landed 4 feet from the hole for one of only four birdies on the closing hole Sunday.
‘‘I was trying to hit it as close as I possibly could,’’ he said.
The birdie gave him a 2-under-par 70 and tied him with David Lynn (70). And it turned out to be no fluke. Returning to the 18th in the playoff, as it started to rain harder, Ernst hit a 3-iron to about 15 feet left of the flag that led to a par for his stunning victory.
Phil Mickelson didn’t get a chance to join them. He had a one-shot lead with three holes to play until making back-to-back bogeys, missing putts of 6 and 10 feet. His 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th narrowly missed, and Mickelson closed with a 73.
Ernst was playing only his ninth PGA Tour event. He was No. 1,207 in the world ranking. He was in a car headed to Athens, Ga., to play a Web.com Tour event when he got the phone call that there was a tee time for him at Quail Hollow.
‘‘This feeling is unbelievable right now,’’ said Ernst, who can’t believe where he’s going now.
For starters, the victory at Quail Hollow gets him into The Players Championship next week. He qualifies for two World Golf Championships, the PGA Championship, the Tournament of Champions next year at Kapalua, and the Masters next April.
Robert Karlsson, the Swede who lives in Charlotte, needed a birdie on the last hole to get into the playoff but made bogey for a 72. That left him in a tie for fourth with Lee Westwood, who was tied for the lead until back-to-back bogeys early on the back nine.
Rory McIlroy was one shot behind when he made a double bogey on the 12th hole. He had a 73 and tied for 10th.
LPGA — Cristie Kerr made a short par putt on the second playoff hole to edge Suzann Pettersen and win the Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va., for the third time.
Kerr shot a 2-under 69 to finish at 12-under 272. Pettersen had a 67.
On the second playoff hole, Pettersen’s approach went over the green, and her chip came up well short. Kerr was nearly pin high in two and two-putted for the victory.
Champions — Esteban Toledo became the first Mexican winner in tour history, beating Mike Goodes with a par on the third hole of a playoff in the Insperity Championship at The Woodlands, Texas.
Toledo eagled the opening hole and finished with a 5-under 67 to match Goodes and Gene Sauers at 6-under 210. Goodes shot a 72, and Sauers — eliminated on the second playoff hole — had a 74.
European — Brett Rumford shot a 68 to win the China Open in Tinjian by four shots with a 16-under 272 total, becoming the first Australian in 41 years to win back-to-back tour titles. Mikko Ilonen (71) finished second and Victor Dubuisson (68) was another shot back in third.
Asian — Bernd Wiesberger shot a 5-under 67 in the final round to win the Indonesian Masters in Jakarta by a stroke over Ernie Els (68).
Web.com — Former Bulldogs star Brendon Todd won the Stadion Classic when rain washed out the fourth round at the University of Georgia Golf Course. Todd shot a 2-under 69 Saturday to reach 8-under 205, a stroke ahead of Tim Wilkinson.